As expected, Wendell Graves announced as city’s first CAO since 2004

Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman and Members of City Council are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Wendell Graves as the Chief Administrative Officer / Clerk. Mr. Graves will assume these responsibilities on Monday, April 4, 2011.

Wendell Graves

In 2004 the City implemented a Management Board structure which has remained in place until earlier this year when City Council made the decision to return to a CAO system of civic administration. With the reintroduction of the CAO system Council’s desire is to position the City to seize all opportunities for the City and to meet its challenges with a focused administration.

Wendell Graves is no stranger to the City and has served as City Clerk since 2004. Wendell has 29 years of progressive public service including his time with the Town of Aylmer where he served for ten years as Chief Administrative Officer.

“City Council is pleased to appoint Wendell to the position of CAO/Clerk broadening his role with the City. We are looking forward to the strengthened coordination of the City’s business. At the same time City Council wants to extend its appreciation to all members of the Management Board for their contributions to the City,” states Mayor Heather Jackson-Chapman.

Wendell holds a degree of Master of Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario. Additionally he holds professional designations from the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, the Ontario Association of Certified Engineering Technicians and Technologists (Civil) and the National Trust Mainstreet Institute in Washington DC. Further, Wendell is a graduate of Fanshawe College, London holding a diploma in Urban Design.

Wendell is married to wife Cindy. They have two daughters, Andrea who is completing her third year at Brock University and Rebecca who will be attending McMaster University in the fall.

The city’s previous CAO, Roy Main, was fired on Jan. 7, 2004, one of the first moves of new Mayor Jeff Kohler and council.

At the time, neither Kohler nor Ald. David Warden, personnel and labour relations chairman, would confirm the firings were the result of part two of the McCarthy Tetrault report which council dealt with the previous evening. Authorized by members on Sept. 22, 2003, part one of the report characterized council as “dysfunctional” with an inability to operate in an atmosphere of sniping and internal power struggles, while the second part dealt with hiring practices and “violations of human rights” at city hall.

But when reached on his cell phone late Wednesday afternoon, Main told Times-Journal reporter Ian McCallum he felt his dismissal was a direct result of the McCarthy Tetrault report.

“I believe it is,” said Main, who confirmed he was told of his dismissal shortly after noon Wednesday. “I was given no reason by the mayor. It was without cause, according to my letter.”

Main, who in 2003 earned $115,000, said he was advised he no longer “fit” into the picture at city hall. “The mayor said something about fit, but did not elaborate.”

I have always maintained Main’s days were numbered following a frank interview with me on Sept. 16, 2002, when Main told this reporter a decision to locate a proposed new city arena downtown on Wellington St. was “premature,” angering then Mayor Peter Ostojic and three other members of council, including Kohler.

Full details of the 2003 McCarthy Tetrault report can be read here .

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